Is that really you?
The you you were back in the day?
Painting a portrait, decidedly novel for me, is telling a story.
You tease out the tiny little features,
The lines and creases and shadows,
The tints of colour and grey and gold,
And you find someone you didn’t really know.
The surprise is unnerving, looking back, moving back,
Making a distanced translation of your strokes and streaks,
Into the person you thought you knew.
Softness softens further on the paper.
Edginess hardens into strong lines and bold tints.
Do I try to reproduce an exact copy, pure verisimilitude?
(What is the exact copy?)
Or do I try to alter photographic truth into the person I know?
We view classic paintings of famous people,
Perhaps famous because they hang in our halls of fame,
And we think we see the person they were.
We don’t, of course.
We see what the artist felt he could or should paint.
I paint for fun and, perhaps, therapeutic concentration.
They painted for their livings and for their lives.
I really, honestly, don’t know who will emerge.
I draw, measure, eye up, weigh, and capture sculpture and shape.
Then I paint.
And something a little magical happens as the image emerges.
I am learning to allow my and your brain to shoulder the load.
Less is more.
Suggest. Don’t define.
A person is different every time you meet them.
Mood, health, weather, clothes, hair, eyes…
And so also their words and thoughts.
But values remain, for most.
And I hope that I sometimes reflect values and empathy in my painting.
I am new to this, and each portrait teaches me something new.
About them and about me, and about painting.
Yesterday I sold a guitar I bought about 50 years ago.
I tried to learn many times in younger years, but just…could not get on with it.
Painting seems to be different.
I get it, and it has got me.
And at last in my life I am not trying to fit a perception of the right thing.
I can create something that is just mine, that others can either like or dislike, but is not wrong.
Thank you, Frannie, for showing me the way.